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Class, colour and contraception: the politics of birth control in Jamaica, 1938-1967/Clase, color y anticoncepcion: la politica para el control de la natalidad en Jamaica, 1938- 1967/Classe, couleur et contraception: la contraception livree a la politique Jamaicaine de 1938 a 1967.


This article traces the growth of a birth control campaign in Jamaica in 1938 and the opposition to that movement which prevented it from becoming government policy in the following decades. It then analyses the work of the private Jamaica Birth Control League, which set up the island's first clinic in 1939. Although the League reached only a small portion of the population, their records provide a window into women's reproductive lives, the demand for birth control, and local networks of contraceptive information. The paper concludes by considering the status of family planning on the island in the immediate post-independence era.

El articulo examina la evolucion de una campana para el control de la natalidad en Jamaica en 1938 y la oposicion a ese movimiento, que logro evitar que dicha campana llegara a ser una politica gubernamental en las decadas siguientes. Seguidamente se analiza el trabajo de la Liga privada de Jamaica para el Control de la natalidad, que establecio la primera clinica en la isla en 1939. A pesar de que la Liga alcanzo solamente una pequena porcion de la poblacion, sus documentos ofrecen una vision sobre la vida reproductiva de las mujeres, la demanda sobre el control de la natalidad, y las redes locales para la informacion sobre anticon-ceptivos. El trabajo concluye con una consideracion sobre el estado de la planificacion familiar de la isla en la era inmediata luego de la independencia.

Cet article retrace la progression d'une campagne de contraception en Jamaique en 1938 ainsi que l'opposition a ce mouvement qui l'empecha d'etre integre a la politique du gouvernement pendant les decennies suivantes. Uarticle analyse le travail effectue a titre prive par la Jamaica Birth Control League, a l'origine de la fondation de la premiere clinique de l'ile en 1939. Bien que la ligue ne couvrit qu'une partie limitee de la population, ses archives livrent un apercu de la vie reproductive des femmes, la demande en contraception et les reseaux locaux d'information relative's la contraception. Uarticle conclut par une reflexion sur l'tat du planning familial sur l'ile durant la periode suivant immediatement l'independance.

   It's just in last June that I was married and since that time
   Hubby and I sought earnestly to find someone who would be
   able to help us outside of using Preventatives on Birth Control.
   Then one day Hubby came home smiling said I have got a
   beautiful present for you Darling from the J.B.C.L. So my heart
   was over flowed with joy. (1)

This excerpt, documenting one woman's excitement at the prospect of obtaining birth control, appears in one of 521 letters sent to the Jamaica Birth Control League (JBCL) between October 1939 and November 1941. The letter was sent in response to an ad placed in the "Wanted" section of The Gleaner, which announced the location of the island's first-ever birth control clinic at 24 East Race Course Drive in Kingston and invited "[a]ll mothers wishing information on spacing of children ... to call or write." (2) Letters came in from across the island, from Port Morant to Lucea, and by 1957, some 7,000 patients had visited the clinic, where they received free or low-cost access to diaphragms and a range of spermicidal jellies, powders and foaming tablets, many for the first time in their lives. (3) For those who were not able to make it to the clinic, the League sent out a confidential pamphlet with descriptions of resources available in their area (including condoms, sponges and pessaries on offer at some local pharmacies), instructions for a home-made method of making a contraceptive using cotton wool and coconut oil, and contact information for local doctors who might be able to fit them for a diaphragm. (4)

Created on 13 March 1939 with the East Race Course clinic opening later in August of that year, the JBCL's aims were to promote parental responsibility and planned families, provide contraceptives to women who could not afford to see doctors, and pressure the government to provide birth control advice in maternal and child welfare institutions. (5) Of these goals, the last was deemed most crucial to the spread of birth control on the island, (6) and indeed, when the League first formed, the prospect of a comprehensive government effort may have seemed only a few years away. After all, several prominent figures both on the island and in the Colonial Office in London lent vocal support to activists who had, since the late 1930s, been advocating more widespread distribution of birth control.

Rising opposition to the birth control movement based on religious, class and race-based concerns, however, would soon lead most public personalities to distance themselves from the cause. Indeed, official recognition of the need for family planning and distribution of contraceptive services in government health clinics would not come until 1963, with the creation of a National Family Planning Board (NFPB) following in 1967, nearly 30 years after the beginning of the campaign. In the meantime, the Jamaica Birth Control League (renamed the Jamaica Family Planning League in 1941), and a second clinic opened in St. Ann's in 1955 under Dr. Lenworth and Beth Jacobs, would be the main forces pushing for planned parenthood in the press and on the street.

This article explores the nature of the JBCL and the politics of birth control in Jamaica from 1938 to 1967. (7) Using newspaper articles from The Gleaner, Public Opinion and New Negro Voice, as well as local governmental and Colonial Office records, the paper outlines the rise of the birth control movement in the late 1930s and the growth of opposition to that movement throughout the '40s and '50s. It further analyses the work of the Jamaica Birth Control/Family Planning League and the Beth Jacobs Clinic, as documented in the private collections of local and international family planning advocates and organisations as they sought to provide working-class women with access to birth control. Finally, it closes with a brief analysis of how the work of family planning advocates within and outside these groups helped fuel a renewed momentum for the cause in the late '50s and early '60s, which ultimately led to the creation of the NFPB in 1967.


A movement actively promoting widespread distribution of birth control in Jamaica largely took shape in the late 1930s (Bourbonnais 2009). This is not to say, however, that Jamaicans were not interested in or using means to limit their reproduction before then. Traditional methods such as withdrawal, ritual abstinence, late weaning of infants, and various mechanical and herbal methods to induce abortion had been in use on the island since the days of plantation slavery (Bush 1996, 203; Morgan 2004, 66-69, 113-14) and continued to be practised. (8) A number of 'modern' birth control methods also appear to have been available in some areas of the island by the early twentieth century. Although diaphragms (the most effective method at the time) were apparently hard to find even in the late 1930s, (9) a tin of spermicidal foam power was sold for 3/6d. at C.B. Facey's pharmacy on Harbour Street in Kingston, and condoms went for 3/- per dozen "at most chemists, certainly in the bigger towns." (10) The Gleaner also carried advertisements for "Rendell's" (a quinine and cacao-nut butter suppository) which could be ordered by mail. (11) In addition, several private doctors gave advice on birth control methods for a fee, (12) and also administered female sterilisations in certain cases. (13)

As academic studies of the population and reproductive practices in Jamaica did not begin to appear until the late 1950s (Roberts 1957; Blake 1961; Stycos and Back 1964), it is difficult to assess whether and how broadly these techniques were used in the early twentieth century. Birth rates do seem to have been declining (though unsteadily) from a rate of 40.8/1,000 in 1920 to 31.0/1,000 in 1937 (Kuczynski 1953, 250). According to commentators at the time, however, this decline was taking place almost entirely amongst the middle and upper classes, who took steps to limit their families, while the working class were assumed to "produce children with reckless irresponsibility". (14) Drawing on international eugenics movements which advocated social control of reproduction in the name of improving the biological or hereditary "fitness" of the nation through "better breeding," (15) conservative elites on the island began to apocalyptically warn of the "disastrous" results that would occur, "if the less intelligent, the less energetic, and the less progressive sections of the people were to swarm the limits of their ability, while the others steadily diminished". (16) To prevent this, they put forward a range of proposals--from the establishment of birth control clinics to the compulsory sterilisation of the "unfit", "mental deficients" and/or the chronically diseased. (17)

The idea that birth control should be more accessible to the wider population, however, also gained popularity among more progressive-minded reformers, particularly in the aftermath of the 1938 labour rebellion. (18) Members of the Jamaica Welfare Limited (including prominent doctors W.E. McCulloch and Jai Lal Varma); the Women's Liberal Club (headed by black middle-class feminists Una Marson and Amy Bailey); and social activists such as May Farquharson (best known for her advocacy of old age pensions) integrated calls for the establishment of birth control clinics into their proposals for post-rebellion economic and social development. Advocates argued that birth control could help reduce the strain on educational, health and social services created by population growth; (19) protect against future unemployment by reducing the size of the labour pool; alleviate the economic difficulties of individual working-class families; and provide women with relief from the physical and mental strain of bearing and caring for large numbers of children. While pointing to local conditions, they also mobilised internationally popular neo-Malthusian discourses which stressed the danger 'over-population' posed to economic development, as well as maternal feminist arguments highlighting the importance of child spacing to women's health. These activities, along with a three-month island-wide lecture tour in 1939 by British birth control advocate Edith How-Martyn, arranged by Amy Bailey and Jamaica Welfare Limited (JWL), fuelled a fervent campaign, which was supported by the press. (20)

Birth control also found a forum within the testimonies given before the West Indies Royal Commission, stationed in Jamaica in November and December 1938 to investigate the causes of the labour rebellion (Hart 1998, 133-134). Indeed, it is in this context that the campaign gained its potentially most valuable ally-barrister, JWL founder and head of the newly formed People's National Party (PNP), Norman Manley. In response to the argument of Commissioner Assheton that the land settlement plans put forward by progressive reformers on the island would not be practical over the long term, considering the growth of population (as plots would be endlessly divided until they were negligible in size), Manley replied that to prevent this, efforts should be made to promote population stability. When Assheton asked him directly whether he would be "prepared to encourage some form of birth control," Manley responded confidently: "Most definitely yes, and I propose to take practical steps about it." (21) Opening for Edith How-Martyn at the Ward Theatre in January 1939, Manley argued that birth control was not only beneficial to the national economy but a matter of "liberty and freedom of conscience", for (as the journalist covering the story summarised) "he [Manley] believed that the poor were entitled to possess the same knowledge as those who were better off." (22)

Not everyone was as enthusiastic, however. Local religious leaders (particularly, but not only Roman Catholics) were quick to attack birth control as going against God's Genesis 1:28 command to "go forth and multiply and replenish the Earth," as an unnatural interruption of the purpose of marriage, and as a corrupting influence that would encourage immoral sexual relations. Clergymen also called into question the idea that the island was 'overpopulated,' arguing that there was still plenty of land available if it would be properly developed, and calling for economic reforms to address poverty instead of birth control (Bourbonnais 2009, 58-64). Labour leaders such as J.A.G. Edwards joined in this opposition, claiming that birth control was "against spiritual laws" and that middle/upper-class advocates blamed unemployment on overpopulation in order to "keep the bulk of the people in ignorance of the true cause of the conditions affecting them, with the hope of further achieving their selfish ends." (23) Leaders of the local branch of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the editor of the New Negro Voice also added a race-based element to these critiques, claiming that birth control was "a sinister movement to decrease the Negro populations of the world." (24) As L.P. Waison argued, large families were not a "burden" to the black working classes but rather a contribution to the manpower of the race and therefore necessary for its advance. (25) As the editor of the New Negro Voice warned, birth control was suicidal for a race, as "after sixty years with no black children being born, a complete race extinction would have been accomplished." (26)

These themes were picked up by Alexander Bustamante, Manley's main political opponent and head of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), who would become one of the island's most formidable opponents of birth control and ensure that it remained a controversial subject in political arenas throughout the 1940s and '50s. This began as early as January of 1940 when, in a letter to the editor of The Gleaner discussing the upcoming Legislative Council by-election, he attempted to discredit PNP candidate Mr. Nethersole by arguing that, "the mothers and fathers of this country do not want any communistic representative or birth control advocate in the Council." (27) In 1943, the JLP officially announced its non-support of birth control, publishing a statement that read: "There is no Officer of the J.L.P. who is a fond student of Communism, and we do not believe in Birth Control which would mean the destruction of the race ... (28) By 1944, Bustamante was claiming outright that birth control, "would liquidate the poor coloured people of this country." (29) As with other critics, he also challenged the idea that the island was overpopulated, arguing that emigration opportunities could and should be further pursued; according to Bustamante, British Honduras and British Guiana alone "could easily absorb the entire West Indies population". (30)

These critiques were effective in drawing attention to some of the ambiguities and more conservative elements underlying the island's birth control movement. Overpopulation was (is), after all, a relatively vague term that was rarely defined, and could be used by conservative commentators in a way that privileged the altering of reproductive practices over the need for wider socio-economic change (Bourbonnais 2009, 54-56, Briggs 2010, 164-166, 175). The critiques of the UNIA and labour leaders also aptly called out the eugenic elements of the birth control movement and thus helped prevent the establishment of involuntary sterilisation campaigns targeting working-class populations, as had been created in other areas of the world such as Japan, the U.S. and Germany in the 1930s (Fruhstuck 2003; Stern 2005; Grossman 1995). However, the opposition failed to acknowledge or engage with the more progressive advocates of birth control who made up the bulk of the Jamaica Birth Control League's directors. These actors consistently stressed that they were only interested in voluntary efforts and portrayed birth control not as a solution to all of the island's problems, but rather as part of a larger programme of change including rural reconstruction, land reform, adult suffrage, workers' and women's rights, and constitutional change. (31)

The official opposition of labour and UNIA organisations also masked the support for birth control that existed among some of its own members. For example, although the New Negro Voice portrayed itself as an anti-birth control organ, a handful of letters to the editor from UNIA members expressed support for family planning as necessary for a happy home and economic security. (32) Oswald Penso, General Secretary of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, also expressed his personal sympathy with the movement in private correspondence. (33) In addition, birth control was supported by several female members of the UNIA, such as Jamaican social worker Alma Labadie, (34) as well as Maymie Lenoie Turpeau De Mena Aiken, one of the organisation's most prominent black female lieutenants (Bair 1992, 162). Aiken justified her support for birth control based on her experience as a social worker in Jamaica, in which she had seen innumerable "unwanted" infants in slum areas dying from neglect and disease, and even claimed that, "if statistics of the number of maternal deaths were available, one would be surprised to find that a great number of them were caused by criminal abortion, undertaken in a vain attempt to end an unwanted pregnancy." (35) As she argued:
   Through Birth Control Clinics, the women of Jamaica will
   secure the necessary knowledge, so easily obtained by those
   who are able to pay private physicians. Many women will
   acquire a general knowledge of the care of their bodies ...
   which would be a great contribution to family welfare. Why
   not give a fair chance to every child that is born; and the right
   to every woman of voluntary parenthood? (36)

In describing birth control as a woman's right, and drawing attention to the prevalence and danger of unsafe abortions on the island, Aiken positioned herself as perhaps the island's most progressive advocate, engaging with issues and arguments that would not become the focus of reproductive politics locally or internationally for another thirty or forty years. (37)

Aiken's foresight, however, was not appreciated by all of her colleagues in the UNIA. As J.A.G. Edwards wrote to The Gleaner in 1939:
   I am indeed greatly disappointed in seeing Mrs. P.A. Aiken,
   popularly known in the U.N.I.A. as Madam de Mena,
   championing Birth Control ... Whilst I always hold Madam in
   high esteem, and still regard her as a lover of the race, I
   definitely feel that Madam has allowed herself to be caught this
   time by Jamaica 'Society of Mischief' so far as such mischief
   affects the negro element ... How in the name of goodness can
   any far-sighted Negro Leader agree to the practice of Birth
   Control within the race to-day as it stands, when the only
   power the Negro can boast of to-day is his power in numbers,
   even though, maybe 60% of them are half-starved ... I wish
   Madame will again reflect, because I genuinely feel that she
   means well, but she is too anxious to get relief for the suffering
   people. (38)

For her part, Aiken did not back down or retreat from her position. Responding in her own letter to The Gleaner a few weeks later, she maintained her support for birth control and expressed surprise to see Edwards attacking birth control "from a racial standpoint", when "Birth Control is not practised by any particular race group, but is a representative institution started to benefit humanity in general." (39) As such, she argued that, "any race leader, whether white or black, red or yellow, who loves humanity would be interested in the thing that would assist in the prevention of his offspring." (40) Aiken even went as far as to conclude her letter by suggesting that she would "refrain from any further comment on the subject, other than to say nearly every woman who is a mother will agree that the subject of Birth Control is of very little interest to the selfish man." (41)

Manley, on the other hand, seems to have decided that public promotion of birth control was not worth the potential political fallout. Following his speech at the Ward Theatre, the PNP quickly published an announcement in the press that "Birth Control Forms No Plank of the Party," (42) and after 1939 Manley ceased to make statements in the press and other venues openly advocating a public family planning programme. When directly questioned on the matter in 1947, Manley argued that it wasn't a "political issue", but one for individual families to consider. (43) When asked again in 1955 after assuming the position of Chief Minister in Jamaica, he reaffirmed that the distribution of contraceptives in order to address unemployment was "for private enterprise".44 Indeed, Governor Hugh Foot recorded in September of that year that Manley had made it clear that there could be no government birth control policy in the near future as it would "be seized upon by the Opposition [Bustamante] as a stick to beat the Government and ... if this happens any possibility of progress in dealing with the rising population will be gravely prejudiced."45 However, Manley did lend some non-monetary assistance to academic studies on fertility in the 1950s, and exchanged several letters with Secretary of the JBCL May Farquharson in which he lent moral support to her work, assuring her:
   I do not at all despair of the possibility of a development in the
   Birth Control Movement, at least to the point where the Health
   Service of the island would be at liberty to engage in quiet
   work ... This is one of the things that will inevitably come one
   day. (46)

For her part, Farquharson recognised the difficulties posed by the close political competition between him and Bustamante during these decades, (47) while also expressing her frustration with what she saw as the approach of "unbenevolent neutrality" taken by his government. (48)

This position of "unbenevolent neutrality" also carried over to the Colonial Office in London. Like Manley, colonial officials had approached birth control rather enthusiastically in the late 1930s and early '40s. According to Karl Ittmann, concern over population growth in the British Caribbean, and the colonies in general, had become a predominant feature within imperial circles during these decades (Ittmann 2003, 436-37). The West Indies Royal Commission's 1945 Report also described a reduction in birth rates as, "in many ways the most pressing need of the West Indian colonies," advising that "[w]here public opinion is in a mood to appreciate the importance of the question, it is possible that the establishment of birth-control clinics might fulfil a useful purpose." (49) However, negative reactions in newspapers across the Caribbean to this section of the Commission's Report and to local birth control campaigns would lead even the most eager colonial officials to step back from public promotion of family planning. (50) As a circular sent to the Governors of the West Indies in 1955 detailed:
   Politically one reason why this [birth control] has never been
   raised with you before from the Colonial Office is that on racial
   grounds alone Governments could never take the initiative
   when they were thought to be under domination by Her
   Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. Even now any
   overt United Kingdom initiative would presumably at once
   run into racial difficulties i.e. it would be thought that this was
   an attempt by the white race to limit the numbers of the black
   and this would completely stultify the effect of any work that
   might be done to encourage birth control. (51)

Instead, until 1964 the Colonial Office pursued an 'indirect' approach, which included encouraging local West Indian governments to address the issue, drawing up pamphlets on population problems to be distributed across the region, (52) pushing for a conference on 'demographic problems' (held by the Caribbean Commission in 1957), (53) and providing logistical support for various studies conducted by the Family Planning Association, Conservation Foundation, and other non-governmental bodies. (54)

As May Farquharson pointed out, if these measures brought awareness to the issue of population, they did not provide what was needed most: funding. Indeed, requests by the JBCL to the Colonial Development and Welfare Organisation were repeatedly turned down, (55) leaving Farquharson to conclude that "[p]resumably we are to do this without money!" (56) The local government's lack of support would also prevent the League from getting any reductions on customs duties, despite being a non-profit organisation and thus traditionally entitled. (57) As such, the League was forced to rely largely on donations from private individuals in order to maintain clinic operations, fund propaganda activities, and answer the demand for birth control on the island in the following decades.


When the Jamaica Birth Control League was formed in 1939, (58) it intended its first clinic to serve primarily as a sort of 'pilot plant' in birth control distribution, providing information and methods to women unable to afford them on a limited basis until the government agreed to integrate family planning into public health services. (59) Diaphragms were offered at low cost or, in cases of recognised need, free of charge, and doctors and League Secretary Farquharson offered medical and administrative services free of charge. The clinic also stocked condoms, sponges and spermicidal foam powder at lower cost than local pharmacies, and in the 1950s experimented with different foam tablets and applicators from the United States and England. (60) In the early years, the two nurses hired by the League (Nurse Campbell and Nurse McIntyre) also did canvassing work, with each teaching an average of 20 new mothers about birth control and doing 20-30 check-ups/visits per week in several districts. These visits were primarily focused around the St. Andrew/St. Catherine area, but also extended out further; one report, for example, speaks of the nurses crossing the Rio Grande on a raft and then riding three miles uphill on mules to talk to 50 women about family planning. (61)

At first, the response seemed overwhelming, as the clinic was flooded with more potential patients than it was able to accommodate. (62) However, these numbers would ebb considerably in the 1940s, and the clinic courted a low number of return patients. Indeed, an analysis of patients in 1955 showed that, of the clinic's first 4,000 visitors, 57.2% never returned, and 15.5% returned only once. (63) Nurse canvassing was also stopped in 1949 as it was discovered that only 6% of the mothers visited actually ended up coming to the clinic. (64) As in other areas of the world, this lack of perseverance can largely be attributed to the inadequacy of the contraceptives available at the time. Diaphragms, sponges and other barrier methods needed to be placed fairly precisely over the cervix and left in overnight in order to be effective; foam powders and tablets could be messy and cause irritation; condoms rarely came with instructions or were stored properly; and nearly all of these methods were particularly prone to deterioration in tropical climates. (65) In a report of JBCL nurse visits to 67 non-returnees in 1941, for example, the majority of those who gave explanations for their lack of perseverance in birth control use said they were disappointed with the method they were given, finding it "uncomfortable," disliked by their husband and/or that it had failed and they had become pregnant again. (66)

Although Farquharson and other birth control advocates often grew frustrated and blamed mothers for not using methods correctly or being "careless", (67) they also recognised the practical difficulties inherent for women living in one-or two-room houses at a distance from the clinic. As Farquharson admitted, most of the methods on offer at the time were troublesome and required "privacy which our women have not got", (68) and it could be difficult for poor women to come up with bus fare and arrange for child care in order to make regular visits to the clinics. (69) Several mothers who were re-visited by nurses also had practical reasons for not continuing with birth control, pointing out that they did not need contraceptives at the moment because their husbands were away working in the countryside or abroad. (70) Indeed, Farquharson noted that a number of the mothers who didn't return explained that their husbands had gone to Panama, (71) and clients themselves changed addresses several times over the course of a year, making it difficult to sustain a relationship with the clinic. (72) Farquharson also pointed out that many of the clinic's clients were unmarried and did not live with their partners, such that they did not maintain an active need for contraceptives. (73) Caribbean migratory patterns and family structures thus played an important role in shaping women's reproductive experiences and relationship with birth control providers during this period.

There is also some indication that the suspicion of labour leaders and other anti-birth controllers had filtered down and/or were shared by these women. For example, one woman claimed she had halted use of birth control because she heard the government was against it, (74) and two had heard that "Birth Control would harm them." (75) Farquharson also described an encounter she had while doing country canvassing with one of the nurses, in which two women in Jones Pen accused them of trying to "kill black people." (76) According to Farquharson, however, this opposition was largely based on a misconception of what birth control was, as many assumed it meant abortion or even infanticide. (77) Birth controllers thus made a more committed effort to explain from the start that the JBCL did not provide abortion or sterilisation, and advocated only voluntary efforts, eventually changing their name from the Jamaica Birth Control League to the Jamaica Family Planning League in 1941 to help emphasise this point. (78) This seemed to be effective; indeed, Farquharson found that (in the incident described above), once she fully explained the purpose of birth control, even the two most vocal opponents in Jones Pen vowed to come to the clinic and send their daughters. (79) Later studies also suggest that although it was occasionally voiced, fear that birth control was an attempt to "kill black people" did not rank highly amongst those interviewed and opposed to birth control practice; they were far more likely to cite health concerns, religious reasons, and/or male objection. (80)

While some women gave up on or avoided birth control altogether, others continued to see the clinic as a source of some measure of reproductive control despite setbacks. For example, even after the foam method failed to work for her, one woman told Farquharson that, "I am not discouraged, [and] as soon as the baby comes, and I am able to get out I will come to Kingston and visit the clinic" and thanked her again for "your very usefull [sic] advice all during this time." (81) Other mothers returned after two, three or more years of absence. (82) Even during shortages during World War II that led to increased costs, there is evidence that several women prioritised birth control over other needs. As Nurse Campbell wrote to Farquharson in December of 1942, "You will be surprised to know that even mothers who we think could not pay the 5/6 for the jellies are buying them and paying spot cash." (83) Some clients also recommended the clinic to their friends. Indeed, clinic records showed that between 8-14% of patients during the first twenty years heard about the League from other clinic patients, (84) and women also showed each other pamphlets about birth control and wrote letters to the League together or on behalf of one another. (85) Interestingly, Farquharson noted that women who had heard about the clinic through friends often came with "preconceived ideas that they were going to get a Diaphragm," (86) and thus would refuse any other method (such as the experimental foam tablets the League pushed in the 1950s). This suggests that the local word-of-mouth birth control networks that formed over time may have not only spread information, but empowered women to be more assertive in their interactions with the clinic and demand particular methods.

Whether they consistently used the methods on offer at the clinic or not, however, advocates pointed out that the numerous inquiries at the very least demonstrated that working-class women were very much interested in birth control. This stood in stark contrast to the belief among many at the time that Jamaican women were content to have as many children as God or fate desired. (87) As JFPL Director Violet Allwood wrote to The Gleaner in 1948:
   It might interest your readers to know that the humblest
   women toilers (of the many I have discussed Birth Control
   with) are just as anxious as the 'privileged' women of the world
   to have no more children than their financial conditions can
   support adequately, even having in mind to 'better' their
   children. (88)

Indeed, by March 1958, the Kingston clinic had seen 7,351 mothers and responded to 1,364 letters of inquiry from country districts, no small feat considering the low level of literacy among these populations at the time and barriers posed by insufficient transportation and communication infrastructure. (89)

League records suggest that the demand for services from the clinic came primarily from lower middle-class and working-class women from a wide range of ages, occupations and religions. According to the League's 1957 analysis of the first seven thousand clinic patients, 67% were under the age of 30 and had an average of 3.56 pregnancies (with an average 2.98 children alive), while 33% were over 30 and had an average of 6.33 pregnancies (with 5.03 children alive). (90) Those over 40, however, had a total of 9.04 pregnancies (with 6.51 alive). (91) Of these women, 35% were described as home-makers, 21% as domestics and 15% as involved in dressmaking/sewing. A diversity of occupations made up the remaining 29% of patients, including clerks, stenographers, teachers, nurses, factory workers, higglers/sellers, laundresses, cigar-makers and more. (92) Their husbands held an even wider range of jobs, from mechanics to soldiers to fishermen to police, with artisans ranking highest, followed by clerks/civil servants, labourers and cultivators. (93) In terms of religion, the largest number (31.7%) were Anglican, followed by Roman Catholics at 17.7%, Baptists 15.3% and a range of other religions from Methodist to Pentecostal to 7th Key Order. (94) The attendance of these groups in rough proportion to their representation in the general population suggests that they were not dissuaded by the objections of their church leaders; as one Dr. Pengelley of Manchester parish noted: "We find that the poor persons who are Roman Catholics in this parish are just as willing to get birth control advice as those who are members of any other church, all they do is not mention it to their priest." (95)

A more detailed analysis of the first thousand patients conducted by the League also gives some additional data on these women, revealing that 71% were married and 29% were unmarried. (96) Of the married patients, 23% had previously used a birth control method (with condoms and "Rendell's" ranking highest, followed by douching, diaphragms, cervical caps, jellies, the safe period and withdrawal), while only 4.8% of the unmarried had, suggesting married couples were more likely to have experimented with contraceptives before turning to the clinic. (97) That married women appear to have been more actively seeking birth control both through and outside of the clinic may reflect the tendency of these couples to live together, thus providing more opportunities for sexual contact (Barrow 1996, 53). A similar analysis of patients numbered 5,001 to 6,000, however, showed a shift in these statistics, with only 54% of patients listed as married and 46% as unmarried, suggesting an increase in attendance at the clinic by non-married women over time. (98)

The 521 letters written to the League from the countryside between 1939 and 1941, preserved in May Farquharson's private collection, also provide a unique window into the expectations of these women and their reasons for seeking advice on birth control. (99) The majority of those who wrote (72%) asked generally for "birth control" or "child spacing", but a handful also indicated that they had certain time frames in mind; several noted, for example that they would like to have their children specifically two to four years apart, (100) or would generally like to "rest off for awhile" (101) before having their next. Almost one-fifth (18.5%) of letter writers--mostly those who had many children--wanted to stop having them permanently, and one specifically asked to "get fixed" (presumably referring to sterilisation, which was not offered at the clinic). (102) A few others wrote in seeking to have children, order jelly, get information from the clinic or follow up, and one gentleman wrote in to ask for advice in dealing with "occurrences" that happen during the "Sexual Act" and "tend to baffle the young couple." (103) At least sixteen letter writers were pregnant at the time of writing, and five of these asked for an abortion; however, they did not use that term specifically, instead asking for means to "banish" or "prevent" the child, (104) and one actually expressed her desire to "space" the child she was pregnant with, suggesting some confusion existed over the meaning of the term. (105) In either case, Farquharson made it clear that the League did not provide abortions, and could only help them prevent the next pregnancy after the child was born. (106)

Some 40% of those who wrote in also gave a reason and/or a combination of reasons for their desire for birth control. Of these, poverty/economic issues were cited most frequently, followed by concern that the children were coming "too quickly" and general health complaints. While some letters (such as the one that opened this paper) were cheerful and optimistic, the vast majority spoke to a great deal of desperation. Women described being "a slave to child-bearing', (107) "scared stiff" of having another child, (108) "worn out", (109) and, for at least one woman, "so depressed, that I find sometimes that life is not even worthwhile living." (110) They also related their inability to feed and clothe their children sufficiently and lamented the poor living conditions in their cramped homes. (111) As one woman with six children wrote: "We have five too many for our meagre salary of 180 [pounds sterling] per annum!" (112) Beyond basic needs, several women also described their frustration at their inability to give more to their children, to bring them up "how children ought to be brought up" (113) or to provide them with a proper education. (114)

There is also some indication that birth control was not solely a concern for the women of Jamaica. At first, the JBCL had not even bothered stocking condoms in the clinics, (115) and League members had been sceptical about whether men had any interest in family planning whatsoever. (116) Letters from the countryside do suggest some resistance, as one woman complained that her husband often refused to use a preventative despite her pleas, (117) while another said her man saw it all as a "joke" and that "he think I am just a fool." (118) On the other hand, at least 16 of the letters from the countryside came from men. As one man wrote:
   My wife ... has been ill for three years and I have been trying
   to help her. The Doctor says she wants rest. She has four
   children, two of whom are dead, and she is now looking out for
   another. My appeal is that you will instruct me how to avoid
   giving her another baby during the time she should rest. I
   belong to the labouring class, but I am a small settler and not in
   a position to consult a medical man at this time but anything or
   any advice from you along the lines indicated will help. (119)

Another five letters were signed jointly by married couples, and a couple of women mentioned that they had discussed their decision with their husband before writing in. (120)

Indeed, over time family planners realised the need to look not only at women, but at men and the broader community in order to understand and promote birth control usage. To their surprise, they often received less resistance than anticipated. As Amy Bailey noted:
   When I taught at a technical school there was a great need for
   sex education but the teachers were afraid. One day at staff
   meeting I announced that I was going to talk to the boys and I
   did. I was surprised with the response they gave me--not even
   a snigger, and they only laughed when I made a joke. I really
   got through to them. (121)

League nurses similarly noted the keen interest of several men who made a point of attending the mobile clinics/sessions they began to hold in the countryside. (122)

Attempts to reach out to broader audiences and incorporate family planning more fully into the community would also predominate in the formation of a second birth control organisation, the Beth Jacobs Clinic in 1953. Prior to the opening of the clinic, founders Dr. Lenworth and Beth Jacobs conducted a well-received "sex education" tour, speaking to female-only and male-only audiences (respectively) throughout the parish. (123) In addition to frequent talks on sex education, the Beth Jacobs clinic also held "Mother's Club" meetings where mothers were "free to discuss the problems of Family Life and Child Care." (124) Dr. Lenworth Jacobs also provided free examinations and treatment for those who attended the clinic, including "fertility treatments," thus expanding the reproductive services on offer and incorporating them into general health care. (125) The clinic also maintained close links with the St. Ann's Family Welfare Organisation, a community-based group that provided assistance to members in finding employment, educational scholarships, loans for weddings, and other activities, thus incorporating itself into the broader scheme of community development. (126) The success of these efforts, as family planners noted, seems to have been evidenced in a higher rate of return among clinic patients at a median of 5.0 clinic visits per patient (as opposed to 2.3 in Kingston). (127)

The JFPA and the new politics of birth control, 1957-1967

The expansion of the Jacobs' work in St. Ann provided renewed momentum to the family planning movement in the mid-1950s. These efforts, along with an innovative radio publicity campaign launched by the JFPL in 1954, led to a rapid increase in new patients seeking birth control in the latter half of the 1950s. (128) Birth controllers from both clinics also got involved in academic research in these years by serving on the board of the Population Research Foundation of Jamaica, which was created in 1956 to oversee the work of the Conservation Foundation's American demographers J. Mayone Stycos and Kurt W. Back. (129) The JFPL further made League records available to the researchers to aid in their survey of women's attitudes towards fertility and birth control (Stycos and Back 1964, 64-69). Although the results of the Stycos and Back study would not be published in full until 1964, a preliminary report released in 1957 provided statistical evidence for what birth controllers had been arguing for years: that most Jamaican women wanted smaller families, preferably around three or four children, and were not averse to birth control usage when properly explained (Stycos and Back 1957). The report was widely and favourably covered by the press, and cited as evidence that there was a demand for birth control and the expansion of services would not be resisted by the general population, (130) providing further support for the work of birth control organisations.

In 1957, birth control advocates decided to consolidate these gains by combining into a single association, the Jamaica Family Planning Association, and applying for membership to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). As the first in the Caribbean and the eighth country in the world to join the IPPF, Jamaica played a key role within the organisation from its inception. The JFPA's radio advertising was hailed in the IPPF's magazine News of Population and Birth Control as an example for programmes worldwide, (131) and in April 1958 the island hosted the IPPF-Western hemisphere region's annual conference, at the end of which Beth Jacobs was elected president of the regional division. (132) The conference was heralded by the IPPF as signalling the beginning of a "new climate of public opinion towards birth control" in the Caribbean, (133) demonstrated by the participation of family planning advocates from Jamaica and Puerto Rico as well as the newly formed Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) and the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT). International family planners also gave special recognition to Barbadian Prime Minister Grantley Adams, who opened the first session of the conference. Adams (an "avowed advocate of population control and family planning") (134) and his government had taken the bold step of providing public funding for birth control, in the form of an annual grant to the BFPA starting in 1955; such efforts were also praised by local advocates, who called on their own government to follow suit. (135)

Beyond publicity, the IPPF conference also led to a boost in donations to the JFPA, (136) as well as potentially recruiting new advocates to the cause. Indeed, just one month later, family planning efforts received the critical endorsement of the Jamaica Federation of Women, (137) which had attempted to grapple with the issue for nearly two decades (Vassell 1993, 218-225). Building on this, birth control advocates wrote numerous letters to the press extolling the virtues of family planning, (138) and representatives of the JFPA sent memorandums and deputations to the Ministry of Health, calling on them to incorporate family planning into health services. (139) Beth Jacobs also used her position as the first "coloured" Jamaican woman to be elected to the Upper House of the Legislative Council to draw attention to the matter, calling on the government to make contraceptives available in clinics and hospitals across the island in multiple speeches in 1960, with the support of fellow members Philip Sherlock and Sir Robert Kirkwood. (140) By the early 1960s, these efforts also began to come from within the government ministries, as officials under both Manley and Bustamante (reelected in 1962) called for family planning and population control in papers and cabinet submissions. (141) Indeed, Minister of Health Herbert Eldemire apparently felt so strongly that "at one point he threatened to resign if Prime Minister Bustamente [sic] refused to endorse population control" (Segal 1969, 53).

In 1963, these efforts would receive some recognition as the government included in its Five Year Independence Plan a commitment to "encourage the spread of information on the techniques for spacing or limitation of families for the benefit of those persons who desire them" (Miller 1978, 3). It would take further pressure from the JFPA, Eldemire and ultimately, Bustamante's decision to step aside from office in February 1964 due to illness, however, before the Ministry of Health could take action on this pledge (Segal 1969, 53), officially announcing its support of family planning and creating birth control clinics at local hospitals and health centres. (142) Such efforts would be formalised in 1966 with the creation of a Family Planning Unit within the Ministry of Health and re-organised in 1967 with the creation of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB).143 Armed with new birth control innovations, such as the pill and the IUD, and substantial funding from the local government and international aid groups, the NFPB oversaw a considerable expansion of services in government bodies as well as outreach programmes (Miller 1978, 5-18). The entry of government bodies into the field of family planning would not, however, entail the end of the JFPA. Rather, the organisation continued to work alongside and with the government in promoting birth control; indeed, the first Director of the NFPB was Dr. Lenworth Jacobs.

The struggle reaps rewards

The appointment of a JFPA member to the head of the Board recognised the long history of birth control advocates, from Maymie Aiken to Amy Bailey to May Farquharson and the Jacobs, who initiated and kept the family planning movement alive during the nearly 30 years of political impasse that preceded government involvement. Through their promotion of the cause in newspapers, lectures, speeches, conferences, and letters to officials, these actors ensured birth control remained within the public purview from the 1930s to '60s, in spite of opposition from key leaders and groups, and ultimately helped pressure the government to integrate family planning into its health services. The careful clinic records kept by advocates also drew attention to the demand for birth control among Jamaican mothers throughout these years and the challenges they faced in controlling their reproductive lives.

The practical impact of the clinics created by these organisations on Jamaican women and fertility is harder to measure. Although the JFPL and Beth Jacobs Clinic provided services to thousands of women from 1939 to 1967, this still amounted to only a small percentage of the overall population. In addition, as documented above, sustained birth control usage was often hindered by the generally unsatisfactory nature of early birth control methods, misinformation and the instability of women's lives in these decades. Perhaps as a result, the work of these groups does not seem to have had a discernible impact on the birth rate, which actually increased to a rate of 38.85/1,000 by 1966. (144) Still, as Farquharson wrote to Amy Bailey in 1952, through their canvassing efforts, radio campaigns, sex education talks and clinics, family planners were at the very least "laying a foundation for the spread of the knowledge when an easy method is invented." (145) Furthermore, as she noted, despite many failures there had also been numerous women who succeeded in preventing pregnancies through the methods on offer, and "at least tens of thousands of people who had never heard of such a thing as birth control now at least do know that such a thing is possible." (146) Indeed, if early clinics did not have a measurable impact on Jamaican society as a whole, they undeniably had a tremendous impact on the lives of individual women (such as the one quoted at the beginning of this paper), who experienced for the first time the "beautiful present from the JBCL': control over their reproductive lives.


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(1) Letter to the Jamaica Birth Control League, #322, 4/108/645, May Farquharson Collection (hereafter MFC), National Archives of Jamaica (hereafter NAJ).

(2) "Wanted", The Gleaner, 19 December 1939, p.20.

(3) "Statistical Tables", 4/108/2001, MFC, NAJ.

(4) Jamaica Family Planning League, "Confidential: Advice to Mothers on Birth Control." 4/108/1187, MFC, NAJ.

(5) May Farquharson to the Directors, Jamaica Welfare Ltd, "Memorandum of the Jamaica Birth Control League", 4/108/613, MFC, NAJ, p.1.

(6) Letter, May Farquharson to Lady Huggins, 18 February 1949, 4/108/242, MFC, NAJ.

(7) Research for this article was conducted at the Wellcome Library and National Archives in the United Kingdom, the Sophia Smith Collection in Northampton, Massachusetts, and the National Archives and National Library of Jamaica.

(8) According to Violet Allwood, writing in 1941, "the prevalence of abortion in the island, in the back and beyond the bush, is widely known" ("Unemployment and Increasing Population", The Gleaner, 18 August 1941, p.6 [6]). A survey in the 1950s also revealed a range of plants popularly believed to induce abortions, (See Letter, May Farquharson to M. Houghton, 27 May 1952, 4/108/2102-3, MFC, JA).

(9) Letter, Fort George [May Farquharson] to Dr Lightbourne, 14 April 1939, 4/108/857, MFC, NAJ.

(10) "Confidential: Advice to Mothers on Birth Control," p6-7, 4/108/1187, MFC, NAJ. A tin of foam powder and sponge would supposedly last 100 occasions.

(11) See for example: "SAFETY FIRST In Married Life--Rendells," The Gleaner, 7 July 1943, p.7 [7].

(12) Letter, Edith How Martyn to Dr. Abraham Stone, PP/EPR/D.1/5, Eileen Palmer Collection, Wellcome Library (hereafter WL)

(13) See for example, Letter, C.E. Pengelley to Miss May Farquharson, 9 February 1944, 4/108/1188, MFC, NAJ.

(14) "It Does Interest You--Birth Control", The Gleaner, 14 July 1938, p.16.

(15) These movements, rooted in Social Darwinist and Mendelian and Lamarckian genetic theories, spread throughout the globe in the late 19th/early 20th century (see for example Soloway 1982, Stem 2005, Stepan 1991).

(16) de Lisser, "Editorial", The Gleaner, 4 November 1929, p.12.

(17) Such proposals were put forward by numerous press commentators, as well as by parish boards and established organisations such as the Jamaica Imperial Association (though not ultimately pursued). See for example St Catherine Parochial Board, "Minutes Special Meeting", 29 October 1941 (2/2/179, St Catherine Records, NAJ) and "Recommendations Of The J.I.A. To The Economic Committee," The Gleaner, 17 October 1944, p.4.

(18) On the labour rebellion, see Post (1978), Holt (1992), Hart (1989), Bolland (2007) and Bryan and Watson (2003).

(19) Despite declining birth rates, the population of the island grew rapidly from 1921 to 1943, fuelled largely by a reduction in mortality rates and the repatriation of migrants from abroad (Roberts 1957, 45-6).

(20) For a more detailed discussion of the debate arising out of the 1938 labor rebellion, see Bourbonnais (2009). Briggs (2010) also provides an analysis of how advocates applied the concept of "overpopulation". For Bailey's more explicitly maternal feminist approach, see "Amy Bailey, Great Family Planning Pioneer", JFPA News, December 1970, 6-7. J2235, National Library of Jamaica (hereafter NLOJ)

(21) West India Royal Commission, "Eleventh Session held in Jamaica, November 14, 1938. Witness:--Jamaica Welfare Ltd.," p.36. CO 950/86, National Archives of the UK (hereafter NAUK).

(22) "Mrs. How-Martyn's Lecture on Birth Control at Ward Theatre," The Gleaner, 2 February 1939, p.21.

(23) Edwards, "Letter," The Gleaner, 11 April 1938, p.25. See also, for example, Martin H. Williams, "Letter to the Editor," New Negro Voice, 23 May 1942, p4. and "Monster Meeting at Liberty Club: Dr. Leslie Holds Audience Spell-Bound", New Negro Voice, 27 June 1942, p.2.

(24) "U.N.I.A. Activities," New Negro Voice, 17 January 1942, p.5.

(25) "U.N.I.A. Activities," New Negro Voice, 17 January 1942, p.5.

(26) Editorial, "Birth Control or Extermination of the Blacks--Which?" New Negro Voice, 31 January 1942, p.4.

(27) Alexander Bustamante, "Letter to the Editor", The Gleaner, 8 January 1940, p.10.

(28) The Jamaica Labour Party, "The Truth", The Gleaner, 7 December 1943, p.4.

(29) "Mr. Bustamante Replies To Various Critics Of His Party And Himself", The Gleaner, 25 October 1944, p.8.

(30) Ibid.

(31) For their stress on voluntary methods, see for example: Dr. W.E. McCulloch "Birth Control--Contraception," 27 July 1938 (3/24/1284, Social Welfare Commission, N.A.J.), Letter, May Farquharson to W.E. Woodley, 12 March 1945 (4/108/2151, MFC, NAJ.). On the work of Jamaica Welfare Limited and Women's Liberal Club's on broader social issues, see Post (1978, 368), Vassell (1993, 22-23, 31-32).

(32) Titmuss, Richard M. "The End of Economic Parenthood." New Negro Voice 1943, 09.18, 3. See also sympathiser--"Letter to the Editor: Partly in Accord with B.C." New Negro Voice 1942, 02.07, 1, 7).

(33) Letter, Oswald Penso to Miss May Farquharson, 27 February 1940, 4/108/2009, MFC, NAI.

(34) "Over One Thousand Flock Liberty Hall." New Negro Voice, 24 January 1942, p.5.

(35) Aiken, Maymie. "Letter to the Editor: Birth Control." The Gleaner, 8 September 1939, p.10 [10].

(36) Ibid.

(37) According to Ford-Smith (1986, xix-xx), the Caribbean women's movement "has been slow to address issues of sexuality and reproductive rights". On efforts to address unsafe abortions in Jamaica since the 1970s, see Heron et al. (2009). For the shift to "reproductive rights" in international forums, see Roseman and Reichenbach (2009).

(38) N.A.J.G. Edwards, Letter to the Editor, The Gleaner, 28 August 1939, p.12.

(39) Maymie Aiken, "Letter to the Editor", The Gleaner, 8 September 1939, p.10.

(40) Ibid.

(41) Ibid.

(42) "Birth Control Forms no Plank of the Party", The Gleaner, 31 January 1939, p.13.

(43) "Parley Stresses Need For Land Authority", The Gleaner, 23 June 1947, p.17.

(44) "Manley says "Nationalisation no solution to our problems'." The Gleaner, 18 June 1955, pl.

(45) Letter, Hugh Foot to P. Rogers, 1 September 1955, CO 1031/1969, NAUK.

(46) Letter, N.W. Manley to Miss May Farquharson, 23 August 1949, 4/108/830, MFC, NAJ.

(47) See for example: Letter, May Farquharson to Campbell, 17 June 1953, 4/108/832, MFC, NAJ.

(48) See for example: Letter, May Farquharson to Lady Huggins, 23 January 1944, 4/108/213, Letter, May Farquharson to Mr. Manley, 10 July 1949, 4/108/830, MFC, NAJ.

(49) West Indies Royal Commission Report, p.246, London H.M. Stationary Office, 1945.

(50) On reactions to the Commission's report regarding birth control, see CO 1042/244, NAUK.

(51) "Secret and Personal" Letter, Colonial Office to Governors, 2 March 1955, p.1-2. Public Health: Birth Control, 1934-1961, CS/6.4, E. 178, Bermuda Archives.

(52) CO 1042/48, NAUK.

(53) CO 1031/1971, NAUK.

(54) See CO 859/666, CO 1031/1970, NAUK.

(55) See Letter, F.A. Stockdale to Miss May Farquharson, 2 July 1941, 4/108/2104, and Letter, A.G. Wood to R.D.K. Levy, 4 June 1952, 4/108/1491, MFC, NAJ.

(56) Letter, May Farquharson to Dr. McCulloch, 17 September 1941, 4/108/1418, MFC, NAJ.

(57) Letter, May Farquharson to Mr. Manley, 10 July 1949, 4/108/830, MFC, NAJ.

(58) The Jamaica Birth Control League was formed by a diverse group of doctors, social workers and activists.

(59) Letter, May Farquharson to Lady Huggins, 18 February 1949, 4/108/242, MFC, NAJ.

(60) Jamaica Family Planning League (JFPL). "Balance Sheets." 1939-1957, 4/108/2002, MFC, NAJ.

(61) "Notes on Family Planning Clinic," 4/108/1039, MFC, NAJ.

(62) See Letter to Violet, 18 January 1940, 4/108/614, MFC, NAJ.

(63) JFPL. "Perseverance in Attendance at Clinic, Kingston, 5 May 1939 to 9 May 1955." 4/108/2106, MFC, NAJ.

(64) R.D.K. Levy, "History of Birth Control in Jamaica". 18 March 1955, p.2, CO 1042/244, NAUK.

(65) "Birth Control-Contraception', 3/24/1284, Social Welfare Commission, NAJ.

(66) "List showing clinics visited ... " 3 September to 12 December 1941, 4/108/744, MFC, NAJ.

(67) Letter, Fort George [May Farquharson] to Dr. Pengelley, 8 March 1940, 4/108/2006, MFC, NAJ.

(68) Letter, Fort George [May Farquharson] to Lieut. Colonel B.L. Raina, 26 August 1952, 4/108/1067, MFC, NAJ.

(69) Letter, May Farquharson to Dr. Lightbourne, 5 April 1954, 4/108/1092, MFC, NAJ.

(70) "List showing clinics visited ..." 3 September to 12 December 1941, 4/108/744, MFC, NAJ.

(71) Letter, Fort George [May Farquharson] to Mrs. Kennedy, 31 May 1941, 4/108/944, MFC, NAJ.

(72) Letter, Fort George [May Farquharson] to Violet, 18 January 1940, 4/108/614, MFC, NAJ.

(73) Letter, May Farquharson to Mac, 4 May 1955, 4/108/889, MFC, NAJ.

(74) "List showing clinics visited ... " 3 September to 12 December 1941, 4/108/744, MFC, NAJ.

(75) "From JBCL Ltd" 30 June 1940, 4/108/2001, MFC, NAJ.

(76) Letter to Violet, 9 January [1941], 4/108/614, MFC, NAJ.

(77) Letter, Edith How-Martyn to May Farquharson, 8 February 1939, 4/108/1315, MFC, NAJ.

(78) Letter, Fort George, Stony Hill to Doctor, 4 March 1941, 4/108/1416, MFC, NAJ.

(79) Letter to Violet, 9 January [1941], 4/108/614, MFC, NAJ.

(80) For example, in an analysis of 27, 684 women conducted in 1968, of the 8% of women opposed to birth control, only 2% cited racial objections. JFPA, "Report on the Seminar on Family Planning". 28 December 1968, Pam 301.426 Ja. Sem., NLOJ.

(81) #1, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(82) Letter, May Farquharson to Amy B., 3 May 1952, 4/108/980, MFC, NAJ.

(83) Letter, Campbell to Miss May, 2 December 1942, 4/108/832, MFC, NAJ.

(84) "7000 Patients, Case Card Query: "How Did You Hear Of The Clinic?" 4/108/2924, MFC, NAJ.

(85) See letters #353, 387, 464, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(86) Letter, May Farquharson to Messrs. British Drug Houses, 30 March 1953, 4/108/1099, MFC, NAJ.

(87) See for example The Gleaner Letters to the Editor by Milliner, H.R." (15 July 1939, p.8), Tyler, W.F. (18 October 1941, p.8 [8]) and "Jamaican" (21 December 1943, p.4 [4]).

(88) (Mrs.) Violet Allwood, "Letter to the Editor," The Gleaner, 12 March 1948, p.10 [41].

(89) "A Short History of Family Planning in Jamaica," Pam 363.96 Ja Sho, NLOJ.

(90) "Analysis of 7000 Patients (New Patients to Dec 16, 1957)", 4/108/2001, MFC, NAJ.

(91) "Analysis of 7000 Patients (New Patients to Dec 16, 1957)", 4/108/2001, MFC, NAJ.

(92) "Women's Occupations, 7000", 4/108/2001, MFC, NAJ.

(93) "Men's Occupations, 7000," 4/108/2001, MFC, NAJ.

(94) "Religions of Clinic Patients, 7000," 4/108/2001, MFC, NAJ.

(95) Letter, C.E. Pengelley to Miss May Farquharson, 8 August 1940, 4/108/2006, MFC, NAJ.

(96) JFPL, "Marital Status of Patients: First 1000 Patients" 4/108/2107, MFC, NAJ.

(97) JFPL, "Marital Status of Patients: First 1000 Patients" 4/108/2107, MFC, NAJ.

(98) Jamaica Family Planning League, "Patients 5001 to 6000," 4/108/2107, MFC, NAJ.

(99) All figures in this and the following two paragraphs are based on my own statistical analysis of the letters held at 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ. I have chosen not to include the names of those who wrote (referring to the numbers marked on the letters instead) out of concerns for privacy issues considering the content of the letters.

(100) See for example #106, #142, #215, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(101) #48, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(102) #104, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(103) #4, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(104) #38, #105, #369, #414, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(105) #148, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(106) See #54, #369, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(107) #412, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(108) #69, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(109) #31, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(110) #235, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(111) See for example #11, #23, #37, #75, #231, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(112) #411, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(113) #52, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(114) See for example #2, #75, #1, #161, #336, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(115) See letter to Mrs. Matthews, #17, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(116) Letter to Mrs. Chung, 12 November 1939, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(117) #245, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(118) #336, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(119) #95, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(120) #17, #322, 4/108/645, MFC, NAJ.

(121) "Amy Bailey Great Family Planning Pioneer," JFPA News, December 1970, p.6- 7. J2235, N.L.O.J.

(122) "Report on Family Planning Visits To St. Thomas: First Trip," p.2, July 1960, 4/108/2004, MFC, NAJ.

(123) "PROJECT for St Ann 1950," 4/108/1069, MFC, NAJ.

(124) SAFWO, "Annual Report: March 1956 to March 1957," p.14, 4/29/1/53, Sir Aldington Curphey Collection, NAJ.

(125) "Annual Report of the St. Ann's Family Welfare Organisation, March 1954 to March 1955," p.10, Una Elizabeth Jacobs Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA (Hereafter UEJP, SSC).

(126) Ibid.

(127) "Evolution of a Family Planning Movement in Jamaica," Family Planning News, November 1972, F36, Rare Books, NLOJ.

(128) By 1957, for example, new acceptors had climbed to 1,500 a year, whereas prior to 1954 this figure had never gone above 461. (Ibid, p.3).

(129) "Draft Press Notice: Population Research Foundation of Jamaica," 8 June 1956, CO 1031/1967, NAUK.

(130) See The Gleaner articles: "Women want small families" (29 November 1957, p.1 [1] and 12 [12]), "Among working class women: No strong opposition to family planning" (18 April 1958, p.14 [14]) and "High fertility not choice but ignorance," (19 April 1958, p.8 [8]). Also "Women Approve Of Family Planning," Public Opinion, 30 November 1957, 4/108/666, MFC, NAJ.

(131) "Jamaica," News of Population and Birth Control, Vol. 23, 1954. SA/FPA/A10/20, WL.

(132) "Operation Calypso", News of Population and Birth Control, Vol.66, June 1958: p.13. SA/FPA/A10/20, WL.

(133) "Report made by Mrs. Houghton," 31 May 1957, SA/FPA/A10/3, WL.

(134) Vera Houghton, "Berlin to Jamaica", p.1, 6 June 1958, SA/FPA/A10/3, WL.

(135) "Hopes for Birth Control," The Star, 13 March 1957, 4/108/682, MFC, NAJ.

(136) "High Wind", News of Population and Birth Control, Vol.67, September 1958. CO 1031/2784, NAUK.

(137) "JFW favours family planning," The Gleaner, 29 May 1958, p.10 [10].

(138) See, for example, Letters to the Editor of The Gleaner: Patricia A. Sharp (6 June 1958, p.12), Beth Jacobs (19 June 1959, p.10110]), Sir Robert Kirkwood (8 May 1961, p.16116]), Beth Jacobs (15 June 1961, p.14 [14]).

(139) Roy Levy, JFPL, "Letter and Memorandum" to Secretary, Committee of Enquiry into the Medical Services, 11 May 1954, 4/108/2149, MFC, NAJ. See also: "Report of Deputation" (1963) and JFPA, "Resolutions Submitted For Seminar Consideration and Unanimously Approved at Closing Session 13/6/64," UEJP, SSC.

(140) "Govt. urged to tackle problem of illegitimacy," The Gleaner, 24 February, 1960, p.9 [9]; "Mrs. Jacobs, during Legislative Council debate," The Gleaner, 11 April 1960, p.16 [16].

(141) See for example: Central Planning Unit, "Paper No. 12: Family Planning," 22 June 1961 (Pam 301.321 la Jam, NLOJ); Central Planning Unit, "Paper No.35: Population," 7 November 1961 (Pare 301.3297292 Ja Jam, NLOJ); Edward Seaga, "Cabinet Submission: Population," 14 March 1963, 1B/31/212--1963, NAJ.

(142) "Jamaica Govt. Sets Up Birth Control Clinics Good Public Reaction," The Recorder, 24 March, 1965, p.3.

(143) H.W. Eldemire, "Cabinet Submission: Family Planning," August 1967 1B/31/474-1967, NAJ.

(144) Handbook of Jamaica, 1967.

(145) Letter, May Farquharson to Amy B., 3 May 1952, 4/108/980, MFC, NAJ.

(146) Letter, May Farquharson to Dr. Lena Levine, 7 May 1952, 4/108/851, MFC, NAJ.
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